Brisbane Roar has finished the regular season with a positive, scoring a 2-1 win over local rivals Gold Coast United at Skilled Park.
Putting aside the disappointment of relinquishing the Premiers Plate to the Central Coast Mariners early in the day, a new-look Brisbane Roar secured its first win over Gold Coast at the venue.
With the result in Wellington meaning the opportunity to retain the Premiership had gone, Ange Postecoglou opted to change his starting XI with finals and AFC Champions League fixtures coming thick and fast in the next few weeks.
Andrew Redmayne was selected for his first start in the Brisbane Roar goals, while young NYL defender James Donachie was handed his Hyundai A-League debut.
In all, five regular starters were rested from the fixture including Mitch Nichols, Matt Smith and Thomas Broich.
Brisbane started the brighter, maintaining possession in typical fashion, however it was Gold Coast who had the first meaningful shot on goals at the 15 minute mark with former Roar NYL player Daniel Bowles beating the offside trap but shooting directly at Redmayne from a tough angle.
Brisbane’s first opportunity came when Jack Hingert was fouled on the edge of the box, but Besart Berisha’s goal-bound free-kick cannoned into the top of the Gold Coast wall and away to safety.
The away side found themselves 1-0 down on 29 minutes and again it was Bowles who presented the danger, beating the offside trap and one-on-one with Redmayne this time made his effort count.
Postecoglou’s men looked to hit back immediately with some strong pressure, but struggled to open up a resolute Gold Coast defensive line.
Henrique nearly found a way through when he received the ball in the box and rounded Zac Anderson, but Jerrard Tyson tipped his strike at goal over the bar.
Substitute Tahj Minniecon nearly doubled the home side’s advantage on 36 minutes with a curling shot, but his effort went just wide of the far post.
Donachie was denied a goal on debut when Jake Barker-Daish cleared his well-placed header off the line from a Luke Brattan corner.
Despite more late pressure Gold Coast took its 1-0 lead to the break.
Brisbane opened the second half strongly, pushing Gold Coast back into their defensive areas and Henrique had a shot on the turn inside two minutes but he pushed his effort just wide of the goal.
Coming on as a half time substitute for Kofi Danning, Nick Fitzgerald made a great early impact scoring 13 minutes after the restart.
The young winger cut across the top of the box, before curling a perfect shot which cannoned off the post and into the goal.
Brisbane were controlling the match, with Gold Coast looking to hit them on the counter by using the pace of some of their younger players.
Besart Berisha had a golden opportunity to score a record-breaking 20th of the season when he was played in by Henrique, but under pressure the Albanian striker spooned his shot over the bar from close range.
However it was a man scoring his first Hyundai A-League goal who put Brisbane Roar in front for the first time on the stroke of full time.
Finding himself on the edge of the box and with the ball at his feet, youngster George Lambadaridis curled a perfect left-foot shot into the top corner of the goal.
The goal proved the difference with Postecoglou pleased with his side’s ability to refocus following the disappointment of the result from the day’s earlier game.
“We were disappointed we didn’t get a chance to defend the Premiers Plate,” Postecoglou said.
“We had to refocus the boys to make sure we finished off our season positively with 90 minutes against the Gold Coast.
“We had enough guys out there with motivation to do well with them getting an opportunity.
“The second half we looked a bit better, a bit brighter and it was good for us to get a couple of goals.”
Gold Coast United 1 (Bowles 29’)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Fitzgerald 58’, Lambadaridis 90’)
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Peter Green
Gold Coast United squad: 20.Jerrad Tyson (gk), 2.Josh Brillante, 3.Michael Thwaite (c), 4.Zac Anderson, , 11.Jake Barker-Daish (33. Mitch Cooper 71’), 15.Adama Traore, 16.Maceo Rigters, 18.James Brown (10.Tahj Minniecon 32’), 22.Peter Jungschlager, 23.Dylan McGowan, 28.Daniel Bowles (12. Dylan Macallister 73’).
Substitutes not used: 40.Chris O’Connor (gk)
Yellow cards: Thwaite (76’)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar Squad: 3. Shane Stefanutto (c), 4. Matt Jurman, 6. Erik Paaratlu (25. George Lambadaridis 61’), 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning (24. Nick Fitzgerald 46’), 10. Henrique, 18. Luke Brattan (12. Matt Mundy 83’), 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 29. James Donachie.
Substitutes not used: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK)
Yellow cards: Fitzgerald (64’)
Red cards: Nil